Boris Johnson set to extend lockdown at Downing Street conference this evening

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to extend the UK lockdown and push back the June 21st "Freedom Day" by as much as four weeks at a Downing Street press conference on Monday evening.

The UK's scheduled lockdown lift is expected to be delayed over increasing fears of the infectiousness of the Delta coronavirus variant, first detected in India.

The PM will deliver a statement and take questions from journalists at a Downing Street press conference at 6pm.

He will be joined by England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, and the Government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance.

The news comes as the UK's scientific community reiterated fears the country is currently in the grip of a "third wave" of Covid infections.

Former chief scientific adviser Professor Sir Mark Walport said the number of people admitted to hospital with Covid-19 is rising, but not with the intensity seen in previous waves of the virus.

“Sadly we are in the grip of the early stages of a third wave of the virus and it is this Delta variant, the so-called Indian variant, which has a very significant transmission advantage over the previous Alpha variant, the so-called Kent variant – it’s about 60% more transmissible,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

  • Boris Johnson to delay June 21 'freedom day' for a month as Delta variant rips through UK

“We’ve got 7,000 cases on average per day at the moment, and a doubling time which is somewhere around a week.

“More than 90% of the new infections in the UK are of this variant, and it is rising in most parts of the country, though not all.

“The good news is we would be in real trouble if not for the enormous success of the vaccination programme and so we have got 75% of all adults have had the first dose and 50% who’ve had a second dose.”

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